10.24.2007

Tree and Leaf



Yesterday found me walking down to the little wooden bridge that spans the first murky splashes of Ferndell Springs; which tumbles in fits and spurts until it throws itself over the edge of the canyon into the confluence of Bean and Zayante Creeks below. I held a little hand in mine and we flung leaves into the abyss. Not very abyssmal, at the point of it's inception it is little more than a glass of water spilled over the redwood forest floor. Someone had hung a hammock nearby which G and I decided had been placed there expressly for our comfort. And we swung gently midst the ferns and withered blackberry brambles; with the redwood tree tops above us- all viewed from a deliciously lazy angle. Crows flew overhead, and each tree's pinnacle seemed impossibly far away; we laughed at how spindly they seemed as they swayed in the breeze. I live in verdant splendour and it is good to feel myself a part of it. I also like that G, at 2 1/2, knows the difference between a redwood tree and an oak tree. "That's right, honey, the Sequoia sempervirens is a gymnosperm and the Quercus agricifolia is an angiosperm."

( I hope the kids won't make fun at her at preschool, maybe we should have waited until kindergarten to do botany flashcards with her.......)

So, last night I borrowed a book of C.S. Lewis' poetry from the Elevens and came upon this gem.

The Future of Forestry

'How will the legend of the age of trees
Feel, when the last tree falls in England?
When the concrete spreads and the town conquers
The country's heart; when the contraceptive
Tarmac's laid where farm has faded,
Tramline flows where slept a hamlet,
And shop-fronts, blazing without a stop from
Dover to Wrath, have glazed us over?
Simplest tales will then bewilder
The questioning children, 'What is a chestnut?
Say what it means to climb a Beanstalk.
Tell me, grandfather, what an elm is.
What was Autumn? They never taught us.'
Then, told by teachers how once from mould
Came growing creatures of lower nature
Able to live and die, though neither
Beast nor man, and around them wreathing
Excellent clothing, breathing sunlight-
Half understanding, their ill-acquainted
Fancy will tint their wonder-paintings
-Trees as men walking, wood-romances
of goblins stalking in silky green,
Of milk-sheen froth upon the lace of hawthorn's
Collar, pallor on the face of a birchgirl.
So shall a homeless time, though dimly
Catch from afar (for the soul is watchful)
A sight of tree-delighted Eden.'

(Taken from 'The Backward Glance'.)

And a last note: searching through Flickr found me this photo and proof that the internet is actually a tiny place, for I stumbled across the photostream of a flesh and blood friend of mine, Peter Thomsen; who really does take exceptional photos and drives a very nice 60-something VW Bug, (white, rag-top) which Brad & I try hard not to covet. And then there's the vintage Vespa. It's really not fair, actually, but we've forgiven him for having such cool stuff, and like him all the same. Thanks for the photo, and hello to the missus!

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Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.